TEGAN AND SARA If I Was You (Superclose/Universal) Rating: NNNN
With their new disc, Calgary sister act and Neil Young darlings Tegan and Sara have definitely left the "Birkenstocks, healing circles and crystals" dyke set behind. Sorry, ladies -- they've put down the herbal tea and the acoustic guitars in favour of thundering electric axes and a new 'tude. Betcha they've been keeping The Best Of Blondie on repeat. If It Was You has vicious garagey bite tempered by Debbie Harry kitten-with-a-whip sweetness. Since 2000's fabulous This Business Of Art, the twin enfants terribles have refined their vocals. They replicate their bratty live dynamic in the music, playing Sara's sweeter warble off Tegan's gritty, guttural howl to good effect. Switching from sprawling 80s arena anthems to pretty pop tunes, prickly punk and even a passable bluegrass banjo tune on the Be Good Tanya-ish Living Room, there's a lot more variety on this record, too. Right on.